Track & Field Advances in National Rankings

Track & Field Advances in National Rankings

BATON ROUGE – The LSU Track & Field teams continue to climb the national rankings as they prepare for their regular-season finale at the LSU Invitational this weekend as the Tigers are up to No. 2 and the Lady Tigers are up to No. 8 in the latest national power rankings released by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association on Monday.

The Tigers have moved up two spots to No. 2 in the men’s ranking and the Lady Tigers have cracked the Top 10 nationally as they are up eight spots to No. 8 in the women’s ranking released this week.

This marks the first time during the 2015 outdoor season that the USTFCCCA national power rankings have been calculated using only seasonal-best performances recorded by athletes across the country this spring. In previous weeks, the USTFCCCA’s weekly rankings considered an athlete’s seasonal-best performance from 2014 if that time or mark was an improvement on this season.

LSU’s teams are littered with All-American and NCAA title contenders this season as two Tiger seniors are even the NCAA’s No. 1-ranked athlete in their respective event to this point of the season.

Vernon Norwood tops the charts in the men’s 400-meter dash thanks to his season-opening time of 44.44 seconds posted at the LSU Alumni Gold meet on April 18. It’s a time that leads all NCAA sprinters by more than three tenths of a second and made Norwood the No. 9-ranked 400-meter runner outdoors in the history of collegiate track and field.

Norwood is also a member of the Tigers’ 4×400-meter relay that blitzed the field in winning the Championship of America title for the 121st Penn Relay Carnival in Saturday’s finale. Teaming with seniors Darrell Bush and Quincy Downing and junior Fitzroy Dunkley, the Tigers took home the relay title with a seasonal best of 3 minutes, 2.61 seconds for the No. 3-ranked performance nationally in 2015.

One of the NCAA’s leading sprint talents this season, Norwood has also been a key member of LSU’s 4×100-meter relay throughout the spring as they own the second-fastest performance nationally this season.

While running the second leg of LSU’s sprint relay team this season, Norwood has teamed with seniors Aaron Ernest and Joshua Thompson and sophomore Tremayne Acy to run a seasonal-best time of 38.93 to rank at No. 2 in the national rankings ahead of their regular-season finale. LSU’s 38.93 was recorded just a few weeks ago at Arizona’s Jim Click Shootout back on April 11.

Like Norwood, other members of LSU’s relays teams have cracked the Top 10 of the national rankings in their event to this point of the season. The Tigers actually feature three of the NCAA’s top 10 400-meter runners during the 2015 outdoor season as Norwood is joined in the event by Bush as the No. 5-ranked sprinter with a best of 45.49 and Downing as the No. 8-ranked performer with a best of 45.75.

Downing, the reigning NCAA Outdoor Bronze Medalist in the men’s 400-meter hurdles, also owns the NCAA’s No. 7-ranked time this season in his primary event with a personal best of 49.91 recorded in 2015.

Acy has broken into the Top 10 of the national rankings in two events as the No. 6-ranked sprinter in the men’s 100-meter dash at 10.12w and No. 8-ranked sprinter in the men’s 200-meter dash at 20.51w. Also ranking among the Top 10 nationally in the 100 meters is Ernest who has clocked the seventh-fastest time this season with a personal best of 10.14 on the year.

Rodney Brown also went out with a bang in his final Penn Relays appearance with the Tigers as the NCAA’s leading performer in the men’s discus throw. Brown has been arguably the most dominant performer in all of collegiate track and field this outdoor season regardless of event, and added to his national-leading mark on Saturday when he won his second-straight Penn Relays title with a seasonal-best throw of 213 feet, 5 inches to also break his own meet record and school record in the event.

In addition, sophomore Jordan Moore has also cracked the NCAA’s Top 10 in the men’s 110-meter hurdles thanks to his wind-legal PR of 13.67 recorded this season that ranks No. 10 nationally in the event.

The Lady Tigers have risen in the national rankings throughout the campaign with a youthful squad with no less than nine athletes and relays that rank among the Top 10 nationally in 2015. Leading the way is senior Tori Bliss as the No. 3-ranked shot putter this season with an outdoor school record of 57-5 ½ to her credit as the reigning NCAA Outdoor Silver Medalist in the women’s event.

The Lady Tigers also feature the NCAA’s No. 3-ranked 4×100-meter relay team as sophomores Jada Martin and Rushell Harvey and freshmen Mikiah Brisco and Aleia Hobbs have joined to run a seasonal best of 43.23 at the Jim Click Shootout. Martin is also rated among the nation’s leading sprinters this spring as she owns wind-legal personal bests of 11.34 to rank No. 9 in the 100 meters and 23.00 to rank No. 8 in the 200 meters.

Martin has also featured on LSU’s 4×400-meter relay team this season with junior Chanice Chase, sophomore Travia Jones and freshman Daeshon Gordon as they own the seventh-fastest time nationally at 3:32.97 this year. Chase enters the national rankings at No. 7 in the 400-meter hurdles with at top time of 57.13, while Gordon cracks the Top 10 of the 100-meter hurdles at No. 10 with a wind-aided 13.09.

Two other Lady Tigers are among the NCAA’s leading performers in their respective field events this campaign with sophomore Rebekah Wales posting a personal best of 176-5 for the No. 6-ranked performance in the women’s javelin and sophomore Nataliyah Friar jumping a wind-aided best of 20-9 ¼ for the No. 9-ranked performance in the women’s long jump.

USTFCCCA Top 25 (as of April 27)

Team (Points) Last Week
1. Texas A&M (356.76) 1
2. LSU (295.40) 4
3. Florida (282.64) 2
4. Southern California (248.10) 5
5. Oregon (246.33) 3
6. Texas Tech (184.76) 10
7. Texas (149.26) 6
8. Virginia (146.38) 16
9. Alabama (143.62) 9
10. Georgia (143.15) 11
11. Baylor (129.69) 12
12. Arkansas (128.92) 7
13. Mississippi State (107.03) 18
14. South Carolina (102.32) 14
15. Penn State (99.72) 15
16. BYU (94.27) 20
17. Illinois (91.63) 45
18. Tennessee (89.65) 13
19. Clemson (85.67) 58
20. Florida State (83.51) 8
21. Syracuse (82.50) 25
22. Villanova (79.60) 35
23. TCU (77.02) 38
24. Arizona (76.21) 46
25. Akron (75.28) 32

Team (Points) Last Week
1. Southern California (328.43) 4
2. Arkansas (306.00) 5
3. Florida (264.52) 2
4. Kentucky (247.33) 8
5. Georgia (241.93) 7
6. Oregon (211.92) 7
7. Texas (209.94) 3
8. LSU (208.40) 15
9. Texas A&M (194.82) 1
10. Kansas State (155.07) 10
11. Baylor (142.00) 9
12. Texas Tech (128.81) 18
13. Michigan State (117.01) 14
14. North Carolina (110.80) 23
15. Clemson (107.58) 19
16. Notre Dame (99.97) 24
17. Kansas (96.16) 29
18. Florida State (95.25) 13
19. Virginia Tech (94.70) 16
20. Alabama (91.68) 17
21. Oklahoma State (87.27) 11
22. Mississippi State (85.20) 28
23. Oklahoma (83.98) 32
24. Missouri (82.34) 21
25. Michigan (79.80) 26